Master of Arts in Applied Clinical Psychology Online Open House

Master of Arts in Applied Clinical Psychology Online Open House


good morning and thank you for joining
us today for the virtual fair to discuss the applied clinical psych program I’m
Mitchell Patterson associate director for Graduate Admissions we’re
delighted to have with us today Dr. Gina Brelsford the professor-in-charge
of the applied clinical psychology program along with our colleague Dr. Stephanie
Winkeljohn-Black before we get started can the two of you provide a little
history about yourself and your professional background to share with the audience. Sure so I am
the professor in charge of the applied clinical program and what that means is
you’ll probably meet with me first when you come to campus if you have
other questions you can always ask me as well after this presentation. I’m an
associate professor of psychology and my area of research is focused mainly on
looking at how people’s views of religion and spirituality be it helpful
or harmful relate to their functioning in in life either within themselves or
within their relationships that’s my main area of interest and also very much
interested in resiliency factors so this high area positive psychology and the
things that focus on well-being gratitude satisfaction in life things of
that nature and my retraining is focused on working with children and families so
that was my my start and some very yummy systems oriented and a cognitive
behavioral person as well so that’s my background excellent thank you I am an
assistant professor of psychology and my two areas of research are around multi
cultural factors in psychotherapy so how can we help trainees and masters
programs be as culturally responsive as possible to their clients and I
particularly do that around religious and spiritual issues so for example in
the age of Islamophobia how are we able to work
effectively with clients that might come from a Muslim background for example the
other area of research ties directly into my clinical training as someone who
works with college students in their mental health and development so I look
a lot at college student coping behaviors whether that be substance use
certain types of repetitive thinking or casual sex behaviors to see how that
impacts their well-being excellent excellent
well we’re going to move into the meat of the program today we’re at Dr.
Brelsford represents an in-depth presentation about the applied clinical
psych program and we’ll come back to you the audience
once that’s done for a round table discussion so without further ado I’ll
turn it over to Dr. Brelsford okay so I wanted to talk to you a little bit
today about our program and it’s an applied clinical psychology program due
to the fact that we are very interested in a scientist practitioner model of
training which essentially means that after you complete this program you’ll
be very much well-versed in clinical work with a variety of populations in
addition to being mindful of consuming and producing research so it’s a very
balanced approach our program is it’s fascinating in the sense that we want
folks to come in and have a generalist type of model meaning that you can you
learn how to work with variety populations however you can you can
certainly tailor that to your program of your line of interest clinically and
research wise I’ll talk more about that later but we really want to provide you
with a general aspect of being a good therapist and researcher but then you
can expand out to be more focused on your
our area of interest our program when accompanied by an additional 12 credits
in the state of Pennsylvania allows one to sip relation sure as a an LPC or
licensed professional counselor in addition some students choose to attend
our program and they find that this is a good indicator of future doctoral
success so some of our students are really interested in acquiring
additional clinical skills additional research skills and then applying to
either Psy.D. or Ph.D. program in either clinical or counseling psychology and
this program certainly sets them up to be in a good position for that we also
we mostly have full-time students you can complete the program in a part-time
fashion but as of currently most of our pillow works are on a full-time basis
which allows you to complete the program in two years plus one additional summer
if you are going full-time so the overall model as I mentioned is a
great very much a scientist practitioner model but we also focus on the bio
psychosocial aspects of the individual we’re very health oriented which
essentially means that we want to edify students and the differences related to
diagnosis however we’re very much focused also on resilience and wellness
and how to meet people where they are and to deal with some of the
symptomology that they’re facing we are very much a focus on developing
therapeutic skills which includes both assessment and intervention so some of
our students are very interested in types of clinical assessments such as
intellectual testing neuropsychological assessment we don’t specifically we have
one course that they may touch on assessment but some of our students
actually are placed in the field in which they are doing mostly assessments
related to neuropsychological issues or other types of into intellectual issues
we also have courses focused on ethics we really want people to come out of the
program with the high level professionalism have a very clear
understanding of an acculturation of ethics which means how their own ethical
and personal values interact with professional values within psychology for entrance into our program we require
a few things we look at the package of the student so on paper unfortunately we
only have certain things we can look at but we have to start from a baseline of
at least a 3.0 within the last 60 credits of your coursework that being
the focus due to the fact that potentially students may have taken more
psychology focus classes the latter half of their educational career so we want
to understand how you fit in in undergrad and it has to be a four-year
degree also does something else to be very clear about we all
to require that students received a B or better in most statistics a statistics
course or and a methods course and so those are very important criteria
that you must pass in order to move on to the next level of review you also
must have 18 credits in psychology or a related area some students do have
classes that when we really dig a little deeper they might have 15 credits of
psychology but then three credits is something related and certainly that’s
where I come in looking at your transcript we also require three letters
of recommendation which is again pretty standard two must be from academic
sources and the third may be from another source be it your workplace not
not a family or friends but some somebody that knows you too professional
setting doesn’t know how to be an academic setting we love to have a brief
statement of interest specifically why you want to come to Penn State
Harrisburg what you’re looking to get out of this program if you can speak to
your area of interest related to research or clinical work that’s also a
bonus for us in regards to the GRE scores where we do look at verbal and
quantitative scores in addition to the analytic score we do not have cut-offs
per se but we want to see that students do fairly well in those areas and then
after you passed that level of review we will invite you for a personal interview
with at least two of our faculty that may be in person if possible or on the
telephone and the reason for that is we want to see more right here or see more
about you than just on paper because as you know this is an important program in
which you go out in the world you interact with people and so we want to
understand how you can interact with us prior to admission I did allude to this
but so our program has a lot of coursework it’s it’s prescribed related
to licensure at the LPC level in psychology at Pennsylvania but it’s 48
credits but that’s pretty standard in regards to program requirements in a
to that if you get 12 more credits then you can set for licensure it also we
also require a total of 700 hours of supervised experience outside of the
classroom and this is really where the rubber hits the road meaning that in the
first hundred hours you work in a practical practicum course you go out
and you meet with folks 400 hours half of which to be direct contact and you
can talk more about that when when you meet with your practicum faculty
supervisor the other 600 are what we call internship hours and they are more
intensive and they can be spread out out over two or three semesters of time and
that’s where you get more intensive clinical experience we also if you come
from an outside institution we allow up to 10 transfer credits provided again
that they were acquired at an accredited institution and they have a greater a of
an A or B as the professor in charge I would evaluate your transcript I would I
would make sure that those credits were applicable in our program and they could
then be utilize for program completion as you know here there’s psychology core
courses essentially those are just the course that provide a strong foundation
in our field and you can see what they are here ethics and professional
practice and psychology and counseling cultural competency a research methods
course and statistics we also want you to understand
biological basis of behavior sourcing how the brain relates to behavioral and
cognitive functioning as well as we require a master’s paper which I’ll talk
more about later we also have clinical core courses around 25 credits and those
include the following we want people to be well versed in understanding human
development clearly psychopathology is important and that’s understanding
icd-10 or DSM diagnosis we want folks to be well versed in understanding
I conduct a clinical interview and basic counseling skills we also want
individuals to understand different theoretical models of psychotherapy and
understand how to work with people in a group setting so group counseling skills
we also as I mentioned earlier offer of course and tests and measures in this
course is may be focused partially under a psychological assessment but in
addition it’s it’s likely focused on intelligence assessments memory
assessments and achievement assessments also personality assessments we also
have a career counseling course so you understand about career assessment
intervention and finally as I alluded to earlier and discussed a little bit with
practicum clinical practicum and internship here’s an example sequence
this is the sequence if you are full-time and as you can see here it
doesn’t look like a lot of classes there’s typically three a semester and
you likely came from a an undergrad situation where you took maybe five or
six a semester I just want to guarantee you that this
is a lot of courses and you will find that it’s more than enough to keep you
entertained and edified throughout your time here and you can check out two in
the summer we do require you to take a few courses also so you will be present
for those two summers the last fall your third year is a possible meaning you
don’t have to say that long if you complete your master’s paper the spring
of your second year and you’re done with your internship credits by your second
summer you may graduate in the summer of your second year some students find that
to be very very enticing I already spoke about this but the just let me see if I
can cover anything else we have practicum and internship and there again
100 and 600 hours and the courses again are really where you get the experience
in the field you have both a clinical supervisor on site that you have to meet
with one hour a week and you also have a supervisor
that’s a faculty member that helps you with any type of procedural issues
questions challenges that come up in that setting we’re there to support you
and help you again that’s a classroom setting that you attend those courses
and then you go out in the world you meet with clients and these placements
can vary they can go from state or private institutions they are community
mental health facilities they could be within and we have a local Med. Center, Penn State Hershey Medical Center which is our medical school about 15 minutes
away some of our students are placed there both clinical and assessment work
people work at prisons it’s you can actually go anywhere you want as long as
there’s a licensed person that can supervise you and it’s pre-approved so
this is pretty cool because you can chart new territory for us let me talk
to you briefly about the master’s paper without producing too much anxiety so we
have this with we have this term volume masters paper it’s not called a thesis
but it’s a high-caliber paper that’s a capstone experience conservatively it
takes around a year to complete and that begins within your first semester in
your methodology course in which you start to formulate a question that’s
then refined and solidified possibly your second semester you then you must
either conduct a study or you may do a conceptual paper you may develop an
intervention or do a literature review and again you need to you would need to
talk with your chair about that that’s a faculty member that you select and that
they are willing to work with you on a research idea that may be something that
they’re working on they may have a research idea that they can then you you
can utilize portions of their of their data or you may come up with a new
research project it’s it so the collaborative process it’s very
important and again it supports our scientist practitioner model and we
certainly can share more with you about that when you arrive on campus we do have some assistantship
fellowships and scholarships and so just if you’re thinking of applying I just
want to give you a couple of things to think about these are very competitive
they are they are awarded by our College so to give you a little bit of rank down
at Penn State we have multiple campuses we are at the Penn State Harrisburg
campus we are one of the largest campus outside of University Park and we have a
large graduate school graduate student presence more so undergrads we still
have a large graduates to your presence we are then allowed to nominate some of
you that are very very high achieving students or assistantships if you’re
interested in that please submit your materials earlier so no later than
January for us to review your application after that time it sometimes
becomes more challenging if you’re a very high level competitive student in
order for us to select you and put you up for that scholarship or fellowship we also have been lucky to have teaching
assistantships and so if you’re interested in getting more teaching
experience we’d love for you to apply for those you just submit your your
resume or your CV to me and I, i’ll forward that on and you see may be selected to
work with some of our faculty on teaching so those are some great things
to look look at for our program in addition we have other things that extra
curricular research opportunities the students can engage in every faculty
member is engaged in some sort of research and so if you’re interested in
research in addition to your master’s paper please go ahead and speak with us
look at our bios online and you can check out some of our research interests
also if students are very interested in presenting their research we would be
happy to help you with that either through poster paper presentations at
local or national conferences excuse me I myself attend the American tech
so CSU conference on a yearly basis and so that’s kind of fun or if you’re
wanting to stay local Eastern Psychological Association or the
Pennsylvania Psychological Association we also have Penn State Harrisburg
student research day and then we also have a graduate research
exhibition at the University Park campus every year so those are really cool
things if you’re interested let us know and we can try to help you secure some
funding for that in addition we have this we have Psi Chi which may be familiar
with which is our honor society and psychology you can continue that as a
graduate student we also have this long acronym APA psh but it stands for
implied Psychological Association a Penn State Harrisburg and in that program we
have we would love students to become involved so the more involved you are
the more fun the club is and more active the club is and it’s comprised of
student officers with the faculty member advisor if you would like more
information we have our program staff assistant listed here Mary Ann Sim
she’s is amazing we also have Katie Martin who’s not listed here but we can
get you information on her I also am available if you’ve any questions feel
free to email me that’s probably the best way to get in touch with me and I’m
sure Dr. Winkeljohn-Black would also be open to contacting her and you can get
her information online absolutely so thank you well thank you thank you
both in particular Dr. Brelsford that was a really stimulating presentation
and chuck full of information about the applied clinical psych program we’re
going to transition into the round table discussion we’re for the viewing
audience please chime in with Google Hangouts if you have any particular
questions for us we’ll be happy to answer them within a lot of time that’s
given for the program but I’ll start to keep the program underway you’ve shared
a lot of information about ACP can you go a little further to explore
opportunities in career pathways that exist within the program that students
once they complete the ACP program where they headed where but in terms of jobs
and opportunities in careers because that’s a lot of questions that I get
when I’m not yeah absolutely sure well I mean one
thing that goes back to that research practitioner model that we’ve been
talking about is that students really have pathways and in both of those
trajectories so it’s very typical for students to pursue licensure in
Pennsylvania or perhaps another state it’s also possible for folks to continue
on either as a full-time researcher or pursuing a doctoral degree so all of
these are certainly the broad pathways Dr. Brelsford has been here a little
bit longer so I don’t know if there are others outside of that that you could
speak to I think I think that probably if the general gist of where students
end up you know I think one of the things I want to make clear is sometimes
students you know have come into the program by a way of wanting a doctoral
degree and and we all know how very very competitive that is and so some of our
students come in and then they’re so they they do need that that support to
understand what does the master do for that I’m gonna let them know this degree
is very impressive also yes you can do a lot of what Dr. Winkeljohn-Black and I do
you can actually teach for us if you’re one of those star students and we have
our students come back if you’re willing and teach are 100 200 level courses so
that’s something people know really it’s that you’re interested in teaching at
for example a community college level that’s the thing that potentially would
be useful as well now that may be an adjunct in addition to clinical work but
if you really have a passion for teaching it’s not a lot of touch for you
also we are blessed to have this Medical Center really close to us here so
there’s been some inroads that have happened with our with our students and
in in amazing situations in which they become project managers or they’re
involved in research in some way part of that too is just you know while you’re
here making connections once so you can do a lot of things and people from this
program come from on the country and around the world yes
so we often have at least one or two international students a year out of our
cohort around fifteen people and many of our students are not from Pennsylvania
no if you’re from Pennsylvania that’s great – yes but we have people that come
from because there are not there there’s a small number of clinical psychology
masters programs and it’s a strong program so you can do a lot of it
excellent excellent I think it’s fair to say among all the psych programs that we
have here that this is probably the most comprehensive and the most rigorous there’s a lot to be gained you think
about a 60 credit program I liken that to something of an MSW the
administrator for Clinical MSW so it’s a very very comprehensive program with
that being said we you alluded to earlier with the hundred clinical hours
and 600 hours of supervision internship that’s a lot that’s really so and we
have students convert that experience into as you alluded to with clubs and
organizations and opportunities to present at professional conferences or
published papers at conferences and presented at conferences that can cite
Association or things of that nature ah well so typically the internship
process doesn’t necessarily link very much to our research presentations the
research typically comes out of the work with for example Stephanie and I and the
students working with us that’s not to say maybe you’re working
out of placement in there so let me use myself in this example so I offered
students opportunity to work in an intervention setting past few years I
happen to be part of a project you know a professor and so they could do an
intervention but also as research-based right so they can do both absolutely
it’s more typical though that 700 hours is
area tents clinically focused and that’s the meat of that and then they can
addition to that I do this research when I asked that yeah absolutely I had a
sort of similar thought of well they’re they’re typically separate for all
intents and purposes that being said a lot of us that are faculty will often
talk about how our clinical work will influence our research and vice versa
which is really the ideal in the field so for example in my clinical work that
I conduct about one day a week if I’m meeting with someone who has a
particular cultural background that has me thinking about a research construct
in a different way I’m absolutely going to take that back to the lab I run with
some grad students and talk through that with them and encourage them to do the
same when they go on their clinical practice so there is that possibility
certainly right now in terms of actually conducting research it does sound like a
lot and it is a lot but it’s very possible to do both so to present at
conferences and be involved clinically right now I have three graduate students
in my lab who are all gearing up in their first semester to submit posters
to the Eastern Psychological Association and what that’s done for them to
certainly I think all three of them is it’s given them a better idea of what
that master’s paper is that would look like for them whether it’s the
constructs they’re actually going to pick or just a better understanding of
the timeline and feasibility issues that might come along with devising a
research study yeah absolutely so in a psychology as a whole you know as
undergrads you know they become generalists but as you move up the rank
and file what makes the applied clinical psych program special, unique that’s
that’s different from other institutions that you will well I may be biased but I
think I’ve been here for a long enough time that I’ve seen growth and change in
it and I think that’s always a good thing
can you painful that it’s a good thing and I think Penn State as an institution
has a lot of weight in a good way so for example our our master’s program
I think it’s very rigorous and it’s challenging yet we care about
our students for the fair we want people to be successful I often say to my
students I feel like you’re an extension of me going out in the world you know so
it’s I I try we try our very best to give you the best education that we can
in addition to that wherever you go in the world if you if you talk about Penn
State generally people know that’s an in that’s an in road because as I
mentioned people generally know everyone’s home cut something that comes
to this program tonight in road it’s a great way to join with people that may
not even be in psychology if you’re talking to CEO of a company you know you
want to work for and all of a sudden they’re like oh you went to Penn State
to you there’s so there’s there’s great things about it and we’re in the beauty
also of our program is were on this smaller campus so you will know people
you will know all the faculty you will get to know all the graduate students in
your cohort well they’ll become like second family to you and you also have
the larger Penn State institution for resources so it’s fantastic yeah the two
things that spring to mind for me are two things that when I was an applicant
going to your programs I’m not sure I would have known to look for the first
is the smaller cohort size the fact that it’s about 15 people I personally find
very attractive every year because that means that that faculty-student ratio is
pretty ideal and you can also work with your students in a in a closer way
whether that’s on a research project or APA psh the other thing that I wouldn’t
have known to look for is to consider what clinical and research opportunities
are nearby so we have a lot of research active faculty and we have as Dr.
Brelsford mentioned the Hershey Medical Center nearby psychology is becoming
more and more integrative with other health professions we’re really pushing
toward more of a health model as a profession and so having those things so
accessible and so close by with established partnerships already is a
huge plus excellent well it alludes to my next question Dr. Winkeljohn-Black gets to talk about health models versus
and difference what’s for the stress is the strength versus the weakness in one
or are they pitted against one another how does that work here at Penn State
Harrisburg it’s a good question typically certainly where psych. emerged
was out of pathology focus certainly so understanding abnormal psychology is
probably a term you’ve heard and really a fixation on diagnosis as we veer away
from that our program in particular emphasizes a strengths-based approach
that’s why you also take classes and things on career counseling and in
development to understand what other processes that are perhaps a bit more
normative or going on for people and where are the stressors and the
struggles within those as it is and so ideally what you’re left with is this
understanding of the uniqueness of maybe human struggle and so students are
really trained not to consider pathology so much as this unit dimensional you
know dimensional part of who someone is but they’re seeing the whole person that
also comes through I think with our multicultural courses absolutely yeah
the whole curve I think I was beautifully stated so I don’t want to
add not more than don’t know person approach I think is it’s really you know
the essence of of what we do and so and I think that that’s I think that’s not a
cutting edge thing but I think that that’s a huge strength for our program
also right and I think too it shows how how much this program really has its ear
to the ground in terms of what is coming down the pipeline in our field so where
are the values headed they’re headed toward again health integration and a
whole person are well with that being said with the I call that the CCC the
clinical core of courses that exist within it you know there’s a lot that’s
that’s wrapped around the program in itself and again the pathways it as to
which students are planning can we pull out some of the strengths or some of the
areas that you really think are really robust as to why interviewing and
counseling and theory versus psychosocial model
why are they important for students and how does that relate to a CV well so my
my perspective is the way we teach these courses is very hands-on so for example
interviewing you will actually do there they’re not real per se but you will
actually have some interviews that will be very much review you will this is a
bit painful for students you will see yourself on the big screen you can use –
it’s just part of the way it is and so you get feedback you get both I just
speak about this the other night positive and negative feedback of that
and so we call I call it a growing edge things you could work on because once
you get out in the world there’s really there’s less of that outside of the
program and so that’s really important in our group counseling class we want
you to know what it’s like to feel like being in a group so I the really cool
thing about I like about that class is we we actually have students run a group
and so it becomes – serves two purposes one both a student can lead the group
amongst their peers but also it becomes a support system
yes so when I taught that course students have thank you can we continue
to meet after the semester is over I said heck yeah you want to you know I
mean that because although at times could have been challenging within those
groups they learned a lot about themselves in addition to the skill set
so I think the more you can apply to the self more likely is to stick in the
hands-on component is really critical one thing I’ve been doing in the
psychopathology class I’m teaching is I’ve actually Robin a standardized
patient so it’s a paid actor who comes in and I write up a script of symptoms
that they display and they have a whole back story because again we’re focused
on the whole person and actually the nursing faculty have been really
supportive and helping me devise standardized patients because this is
something they do and other health professions for learning and students
had you know a lot of fun but also more spectra the challenges of diagnosis and
what it is to actually be with a person in the room so that simulated experience
is something we’re working on bringing into a couple other courses as well
that’s excellent that’s really excellent I know this is all about psychology in
applied clinical psych., but I often think about and I’m asking this is a question
for both of you in the ways of the psychosocial aspect because the
psychology is how we think of the sociological aspect in terms of behavior
so how does that acted out while being performed with actors in the room if you
will be it in a classroom and then in real life what do you see as the impact
that students are able to produce once this is all done again because we live
in a very very fast-moving changing world a lot of things are coming at us
all the time but can you just sort of give me a quick summary about the again
the sociological aspects of this also works the first thing that came to mind
for me it was actually in working with my students in the standardized patient
most recently and the thing that they reflected on in their first semester
which is a whirlwind your acclimating to the program you have all these new
classes you’re thinking about your master’s paper they realized that a big
takeaway was that they had to slow down and be present with another person which
again I know I’m hammering it but it really speaks to that whole person
approach and they realized that it’s important as it was to get through all
these questions on their paper for diagnostic purposes they also have to
listen they also have to be present and hear actively what this other person was
saying and I would argue that those skill sets are critical wherever you go
regardless of whether or not you’re gonna pursue clinical work full-time
um I think again so I think it’s great when we teach these courses we learn
right yes which is fantastic so one of the big things in ethics that I
typically teach is the idea of what we call general principles our aspirational
principle and these are basically guidelines that
we are in our professional like we live by for example beneficence non
malfeasance or non-maleficence integrity justice so I want students to think
about again not acculturation meaning so how does your the way you see the world
interact with a professional and and I believe those that juxtaposition of the
two isn’t it’s not necessarily easy but if somebody comes into the field for the
right reasons you know being the greater good
I think that’s sociological aspect and going out into the world it makes it
makes everything it makes everything better
that might sound you know a little bit Pollyanna but it’s definitely something
that I want our students to be good stewards in the world of of things that
make our world better and and I think so it’s it’s an it is about the person but
it’s also bigger than the person and so I think that’s vital it vitally
important to me absolutely our students all right appreciate both of you so
we’re going to turn to the listening audience to see if anyone that’s out
there from Google Hangouts would like to send us a question for either a Dr. .
Brelsford or Dr. Stephanie Winkeljohn-Black linkage on we’ll be happy to answer those
questions but if not that’s that’s fine too I would like to thank you both for
sharing a wonderful wonderful presentation about the applied clinical
psychology program here at Penn State Harrisburg and again for our listening
audience please check us out this video will be uploaded at the ACP homepage
where you can learn more information about the appliance and insight program
and you can send email phone calls to either professor here all right well
thank you and have a great day

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